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Raising biracial children

Updated on September 16, 2014

When we talk about biracial we often refer to both parents of completely different ethnic origins with different feature. E.g. White and black, or Asian and Hispanic. A child with one English parent and one Scottish parent may not be considered mixed race even though their parents are from different countries since both countries have a similar ethnic background (although debatable). I person who is half Jamaican and half Kittishan (St. Kitts) but would not be considered mixed race or biracial since both islands have people from the same background and almost the same physical features. One would be considered mixed race if a mix of ethnic facial features are evident from both parents. For children with one black parent this is very evident from the hair texture as it would be a more looser / relaxed version of the Afro, although some children can take strongly to one side of the gene and have a normal Afro and white skin.

How biracial children grow up

From a young age of course children are not aware of race or colour so much and toddlers are happy so play along with each other without caring about their skin colour and hair texture differences.

It becomes more evident when the children start elementary school. At this stage children become more and more conscious about their own and others appearance and begin to judge from appearances (however not all kids). This is the time where biracial kids or of a full ethnic origin begin to understand that certain groups are easier to get along with whereas others may not be so welcoming. Whether it's a good thing or bad is debatable however children will naturally form groups, those groups are formed basically from friendship but in many situations, race and gender has a lot to do with it. In my school we had Black Caribbean, Black African, White, Indian and Pakistani. In most of the classes it was obvious that the groups were formed from race. Mainly five groups.

Where does my child stand? The ideal way is not to be part of any group, however that would be very lonely in inner city schools with large ethnic diversity. Although you may want to bring up your mixed race child without thinking of race, the truth is, they will probably choose the one side. E.g. A biracial black/white child will in many cases may look black but with softer features and lighter skin due to the white parent and they would probably be more accepted in a black group then white but this depends of the individual. A lot has to do with the cultural influence of home. In the UK, the majority of mixed race kids I grew up with were living with their white mothers only and have little or no memory of their black father. Does this mean that they will grow up sounding white? Not at all, as I mentioned earlier their peers/friends were mainly black since they have a black appearance and find it comfortable in that group. However a mixed race white/black guy may be ridiculed at a young age if he sounds white. It's a cruel world.

In most cases the biracial children will be seen as the non-white or the most dominant (feature wise) in race. In an ideal world they shouldn't be seen as any colour but in the real world it is not so simple.

Language

When the child parents speaks two different languages it is ideal and assumed that the biracial child will be bilingual. This is sometimes the case but not always. If the parents stick to only the one language at home the child will never grow up bilingual especially if their friends and family are 2nd generation and are comfortable with their birth country language. Academically, a child who is half white and hispanic may be expected to pass Spanish with no issues. If they fail, then it may cause the teacher to be disappointed. Just because you have certain ethnicity in your blood doesn't mean you have to behave or speak a certain way but the truth is, it does help in society when forming socials groups. I believe that it is important to expose the child to all cultures to some extent since Identity crisis can be an issue for a child when they grow up.

Even if both parents speak different languages, children will normaly just speak the language of the environment they are in. E.g. in Japan, a child born to a Japanese mother and an English father will probably speak Japanese 90% no matter how much the father speak English. Japanese does not have an English speaking environment. The only way the child will learn English is if the child has English speaking friends or goes to an international school. The father speaking English, in the evenings after work is not enough.

I know people who are half Japanese but speak almost no Japanese and have issues when coming to Japan and introduce themselves as e.g."Sato-san". Even though they may not be interested in learning the language, you can always sense some regret that they didn't pick it up as child. A lot non Japanese Asians tend to make a big effort in learning Japanese while ther in living in Japan. It is difficult to fully know a culture if you are functionally illiterate.

In the future I believe hybrid languages may also develop from mixed race communities when they pick and chose the most comfortable words and grammar from various languages to communicate in a newer mixed sounding language, a bit like Jamaican "Patois".

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    • Hezekiah profile image
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      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Thanks, I have one mixed child myself. I am from UK with a Caribbean background and the mother is Japanese, such different cultures. We live in Japan but I have adjusted to the Japanese way of life which is much easier then a Japanese adjusting to the western culture (in the long run).

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Such an important topic and great Hub! I have two children. Their father is from a different country. We have extended family and cousins that are from all over the world. It's an awesome experience to learn about everyone's cultures.

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      thank you and yes, it's strange how mixed children can come out different colors like that. And it is a shame if they can only speak the one language.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I have a very close friend who has a mixed race family. Her mother comes from one of the African countries, I can't remember which one at this time, and is black, her father is white English. My friend is married to a white guy and their children are beautiful. The first born, a girl, is completely white, the second one, male, is dark skinned, the third is again white, the fourth in between! lol! and then we have the white oldest girl who has two children, one with red hair and the other with dark, and dark skin, they are all gorgeous. I totally agree with you about the language, my friend who comes from a Greek and English background grew up with only the English language, she hated it when she went to Greece and couldn't speak the language, she always said that she wished her mom would teach her greek, nell

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      Thank you very much for the comments, much appreciated.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is presented so clearly and concisely which made me wish to read from beginning to end. You made some very valid points...especially about language. I taught in Japan in a DODS school for four years and many of our children were from biracial homes and most spoke both languages fluently preferring often the language of the mother who often was Asian. I used to tell those children how lucky and how smart they were because they knew two languages.

      Thanks for sharing this.

      Sending you blessings and Angels this morning.

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      Ryem, thanks. I hope things turn out well with your future mixed marriage.

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      James-Wolve , thank you. And yes I have also experienced the difficulties people may face due to me being in Japan and clashing due to different cultural opinions on how to raise our child. It's learning experience though.

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      LaThing , thank you very much.

    • Ryem profile image

      Ryem 5 years ago from Maryland

      This is a very interesting hub. I've actually been thinking about this subject recently as my future husband is a white man. This was well written.

    • James-wolve profile image

      Tijani Achamlal 5 years ago from Morocco

      Interesting, on many fronts.I voted up. You are right, there are many wonderful advantages of being in a mixed-race relationship. You have lots to talk about and have the benefits of being involved in both cultures etc.

      But the opposite is also true. Conflicts can arise, for example if something is forbidden in one culture/religion and not the other, uncompromisable sacrifces can arise which will add strain to the relationship.

      If you truly love each other, then the way other people treat you wont affect your relationship. Just stay strong and true to yourselves.

      And the only thing to really worry about. Is an interracial child. How is the child going to be treated? Will things change in time?

      I learned ONE thing for sure. Do not set limitations to any race, gender, religion, or anything. There is no telling who you will fall in love with. That is what should matter.

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Very interesting hub! I think the children from mix marriages are beautiful..... And unique! Voting up and awesome....

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 6 years ago from Japan

      Rachelle, thank you very much.

    • Rachelle Williams profile image

      Rachelle Williams 6 years ago from Tempe, AZ

      I have a mixed race child and grandchildren, and I think your hub is great. Also, how cool to be mistaken for being the Simmons-Honsou family!

    • Hezekiah profile image
      Author

      Hezekiah 6 years ago from Japan

      Thanks but that's not me in the picture. That would be Kimora Lee Simmons (Half Koren/black) and Djimon Hounsou (Beninese/American). The baby is his, but the other two are from her former marriage to Russel Simmons (Run DMC).

    • profile image

      ansonia 6 years ago

      What a beautiful looking family you are!

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